If only we could all be given carte blanche when it comes to designing and building steel buildings. Unfortunately, that isn't the case and there are several factors that can affect the final design of your steel building. From zoning and permitting restrictions to site selection and lifetime costs, take a holistic approach when designing your steel building so the majority of the red flags and hiccups are resolved before you break ground.
Here are 5 factors that can affect your steel building design.
- Zoning and Permitting Issues
Before you commence with your steel building design, schedule a meeting with the local building department. While steel buildings are more common due to their affordability and durability, there are many cities and towns that are unfamiliar with their design and build process. You may find your building department requires additional information or reassurance about steel buildings in general.
Ask about how your building department conducts their permitting and inspection processes. Although many steel buildings are prefabricated and are quick to construct, you need to know exactly when to schedule an inspection. Failure to have your individual permits signed off can mean having to tear apart and rebuild, which goes against the very efficacy and ease of building that steel buildings are known for.
Many cities and towns are adopting stricter policies regarding energy efficiency, water conservation, noise pollution, etc. These policies will guide some of the additional features and accessories you select for your building design as well as how you run your construction site throughout the build-out.
- Geography and Climate
Where you live should directly impact your building's design as well as your materials selection. In an era where climate seems more unpredictable than ever and widespread devastation at Mother Nature's hand occur on an annual and semi-annual basis, it's important that you choose your building design and materials accordingly.
One of the greatest advantages of building with steel and metal components is their ability to withstand excessive winds and water. This is why metal buildings, such as churches, schools and municipal structures often serve as the evacuation centers in areas that are prone to hurricanes and tornadoes. However, in order to be effective, the buildings must be constructed using materials and techniques rated to withstand the predicted wind speeds and other elemental possibilities, including solar radiation, temperature fluctuations and humidity.
- Site Selection
Site selection is an incredibly important part of the puzzle and it happens long before you break ground on your project. In order to keep your steel and metal building as durable, long-lasting and low-maintenance as possible, you want to select the best site. This is especially important for anyone building in an area with high rainfall. Ideally, your metal building site should be on a slightly elevated rise with well-draining soil. This is the way to ensure your building's foundation isn't spending an inordinate amount of time in standing water.
Moisture is the true enemy of a steel building - or any building for that matter. Failure to take proper precautions in terms of site/soil drainage, water drainage via roofing selection, gutters and downspouts and proper sealing techniques will come back to haunt you throughout the building's lifetime.
- Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
Sustainability and energy efficiency are part of what will make the lifetime costs of your steel building design so affordable. The first aspect of sustainability and energy efficiency begins with the aforementioned lot selection. Your building's lot orientation and placement have a tremendous effect on its year-round heating and cooling loads as well as its ability to withstand high winds and extreme inclement weather conditions.
Your choice of steel and metal building materials is already a sustainable one because the overwhelming majority of modern day steel and metal building components are manufactured from pre- and post-consumer recycled products and can be recycled again at the end of their life time. Paired with environmentally-friendly features and accessories, such as cool metal roofs, passive solar design techniques building orientation, awnings and overhangs, insulation that exceeds current energy efficient standards, ventilation and adequate natural lighting and an energy efficient HVAC system will go a long way towards cutting your lifetime energy expenditures.
- Features and Accessories
Finally, take the time to review the full array of metal building features and accessories available to you. Yes, cool metal roofing or specialized coatings will cost you more at the outset, so will some of the aesthetically pleasing features like building facades, window trims, awnings etc. But these features will enhance the longevity of your building as well as its resale vale.
Contact an experienced metal building manufacturer to discuss your upcoming metal building project so you can review all of the factors that will make your building's design a success.